The music industry has welcomed the unanimous approval of the Music Modernisation Act by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill has won bipartisan support for the need to update music copyright laws in line with the changes in music consumption. If enacted, it would be the biggest update to music legislation in 40 years.
With the bill now heading for a full Senate vote, music industry organisations hailed the committee’s vote on the measures that are designed to give songwriters a better chance of securing fair value for their work in the digital era.
ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said: "ASCAP thanks Chairman Grassley for bringing the Music Modernisation Act to mark-up and to Senators Hatch, Alexander and Whitehouse for being such stalwart champions of songwriters. We are happy to see this legislation move forward with such broad bipartisan support. While there is still more work to be done to create a fair environment for songwriters in the digital age, we hope the Senate will move swiftly to pass a version of this bill that preserves the much-needed benefits for music creators."
BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill said: “Today’s vote is an important step towards achieving meaningful music licensing reform that will benefit America’s songwriters, composers and publishers. The MMA, if enacted, will help ensure that music creators are compensated fairly for their work.”
RIAA President Mitch Glazier added: “We are grateful that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken the next vital step to advance the Music Modernisation Act. Music speaks to all parties, all people, in all places. And when a community comes together as we have done, with no segment getting everything they want but recognizing injustice and working toward a common goal, anything is possible. We welcome the momentum surrounding this bill and thank Senators Grassley, Feinstein, Hatch, Coons, Kennedy and all of the cosponsors, for leading the charge in the Senate to right a long-standing wrong with the CLASSICS Act. We look forward to Senate passage of the entire MMA, and this crucial bill finally becoming law.”
The Association of Independent Music Publishers also welcomed the vote.
“The AIMP applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee’s unanimous passage of the Music Modernisation Act (MMA), putting the much-needed legislation one step closer to being enacted,” said an AIMP statement. “With support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, plus unprecedented cooperation between the music and technology industries, the MMA will update the music licensing system for today’s online world and correct long-standing problems that have denied songwriters and publishers full control over their works.
“In particular, independent publishers and songwriters would benefit from a more modern and realistic rate standard, a central public database to ease royalty payments from digital services, removing evidence limitations placed on rights-holders arguing for more accurate royalty rates, allowing PROs to be heard by more than the same two judges, and once and for all establishing that digital services must pay for the use of pre-1972 recordings.”
The passge of the vote coincides with EU copyright reform measures to address issues including the 'value gap' surrounding user-generated content on video upload sites such as YouTube.